Prayer for the Church
Today we will focus our prayers on the Iranian Church.
The church in Iran is small, but it is growing rapidly. It is difficult to say how many Iranians are Christians because most of the church is underground. However, we do know that more Iranians are known to have become Christians after the 1979 revolution than in the previous 1,300 years since Islam came to Iran.
The church has faced much persecution since 1979. Church growth has happened despite much opposition as the Islamic government is hostile to evangelical Christianity. There has been constant intimidation of Protestant Christians. Many have been imprisoned, and at least eight senior church leaders have been martyred for their faith. Over the last two years there has been an increase in the intimidation and restrictions placed on believers.
With this in mind we want to unite in prayer for the persecuted church in Iran:
- Pray that all Christians will live in the knowledge that ‘God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline’. Pray they will be bold to declare the message of the Gospel, even in the face of adversity.
- Pray for leaders of the ‘overground’ church who are under surveillance and are often questioned about their activities. Pray that the Lord will give them wisdom when they speak to the authorities. Remember also leaders of the growing number of underground house churches. Pray they will have discernment to protect their underground churches and the ability to meet without being intimidated.
- Pray that new believers all over the country who are being targeted for harassment will be protected and will overcome their fear. Pray they will experience the peace of God and that the joy of the Lord will be their strength.
- Pray for leaders who are in prison for their faith and also for their families. Remember Hamid Pourmand, who has been in prison since September 2004. Pray for his wife and two children. Pray also for Ali Kaboli, 51, who was taken into custody on May 2, 2006. With the exception of one brief telephone call, he has been refused contact with any visitors. Ask the Lord to be with his wife and grown children.
Thank you for praying.
Note: In line with our theme, the song that is played with today's slide show is sung by Bishop Haik Hovsepian-Mehr who was martyred in 1994. Here is a translation of the words:
Oh Lord, We sing your praises because of your Church;
Which is your chosen people and royal priesthood.
Jesus our Saviour and Lord,
The Almighty, the Son of God
The Church receives your strength in times of difficulties and persecutions;
Your mercy overflows on the Church through the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
We know that your presence is with us all the time everywhere;
You have promised to keep us safe from the attacks of the enemy.
You are the head of the Church, You are our hope;
In the difficult and dangerous times of our lives.